I started sneaking up on a writing career back in grade school, when I tried to do a sequel to a Mickey Mouse serial involving being shrunken down to subatomic size, ala Ray Cummings. In high school, I did articles and sf columns for the local newspaper, but five cents a column inch and a reluctance to talk to strangers didn't make for great job prospects.
I soon discovered sf fanzines, like YANDRO and FAN-FARE and THE CHIGGER PATCH OF FANDOM, which paid nothing at all, so I became an electronics tech for a few years. Luckily, that led me into tech writing, which lasted for fifteen years, including five on the Apollo program, where I wrote manuals and programmed instruction texts on the LEM and Command Module guidance systems. The most fun, though, was writing a series of texts using an "intuitive" approach to explain the basics of orbital mechanics to some of NASA's flight controllers. It was the sort of thing that, if it were published today, might be called "Space Flight for Dummies" and go on the shelves with all the "...for Dummies" computer books.
The first fiction sale was a 1967 MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E novel, a collaboration with Robert Coulson under the name Thomas Stratton. It has the distinction of being the only sale I know of in which the manuscript was accepted but the title and the author's names and dedication were all rejected. Since then I've plowed through roughly forty books in various categories including science fiction, mysteries, horror, and romance, even non-fiction ones on computers and doll making. One novel, THE DOLL WITH OPAL EYES, came out in four separate categories -- mystery, romantic suspense, romance, and supernatural horror -- in different editions and translations.
I've also done some YA sf that grownups can enjoy as well as kids (I hope). One -- ADVENTURES OF A TWO-MINUTE WEREWOLF -- was made into an ABC WEEKEND SPECIAL a few years back. Another, MAJOR CORBY AND THE UNIDENTIFIED FLAPPING OBJECT, won best juvenile novel from the Council for Wisconsin Writers and a couple others were Junior Literary Guild selections. An sf novel, JEREMY CASE, and an occult horror, A DIFFERENT DARKNESS, won best novel awards from the Council. More recently I've done a bunch of media-related novels for Star Trek, Lost in Space, Dinotopia, and Ravenloft. My latest, however, is a small-town sheriff mystery, MURDER IN THE BLOOD, from Five-Star.
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